Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Be the Person Your Dog Thinks You Are

I just returned home from a visit with an old friend (Hey, Holls!). I had such a brilliant time sharing the morning with her (she's gorgeous and nine months pregnant with her third child. Hate her. When I was 9 months pregnant, I was neither gorgeous nor a gracious hostess. I was a big, uncomfortable whale.) and we shared some honest moments about motherhood.

It's hard to be a mother.

here i am in '81 'teaching' my class. i had 'my hands full!'

Did you know that? Did you know when you delivered your first bundle of joy that this job we call "Mom" is the toughest job you'll ever love? (Or do you know that if you haven't delivered that first baby yet?) Did you know it from watching your own mother raise you?

When the twins were brand new, I confided in my MIL that being a mother was not as 'fun' as I had thought it would be. It wasn't much fun at all. Now, I had two babies and one was extra challenging and neither of them wanted to learn how to eat very readily, so I had contraptions hooked up to myself and schedules next to my chair and no, it just wasn't very fun. It was hard.

here we are in 9/01. the babies were a few weeks old and we were headed out for 'a date.'

But the years have passed and I've had a few more kids and they all eat pretty well now, and the sick baby is healthy now, and our lives are pretty normal. And it's still really hard.

this was one of the first real babies i got to love. and give back to her mom.

Lately, I've found this job in the 'hood (Mother-hood) to be especially challenging. I don't want you to get the wrong idea. I absolutely adore my kids. And I enjoy being a mom, too. I am blessed beyond measure to call them my children. I believe that there are times as parents, as mothers, as Christians that we need to hold one another accountable. We might need to say: Hey. WWJD? (since we are to show our children Jesus through our words and actions...) Or just: Mommy needs a time out! At the same time, there are moments when we just need to listen. To empathize. Because this job is challenging. (Have you ever read I was a Really Good Mom Before I had Kids? Or seen the Oprah episode in 2002 about the reality of motherhood? As women, apparently, we feel like we have to be SuperMom. Admitting insecurities and imperfections might lead to vulnerability or...what? Our humanity versus SUPERhumanity?

I listened to an audio series last fall (I'll find out the name and post it) where the main concept I took away from the listening was that everyone is insecure. Did you know that? Don't you have that one friend of yours that just always looks like she has her act together? That one mom who bakes whole wheat bread, brings homemade crafts to all the school parties...well, let's just say the SuperMom down the street? Yeah. She's insecure, too.

I never realized motherhood was going to be this tough. I seem to either spend a great day with my kids or have the laundry folded. I don't seem to have both. And don't tell me the laundry (or the house) can wait. Because soon enough, the kids will need clean socks! There must be a balance. And I'm still trying to find it.

Last night, after catching up on Angie Smith's blog (if you want a good cry, to be humbled and inspired, go now and read Angie's beautiful prose --- but come back and finish my story here - soon!), I opened my Bible and said, not "Show yourself" to God. But, instead, I asked, "What can you show me, Lord?"

I opened my Bible and found Isaiah 40:28-31. And this time, I looked at one little subscript letter and noted the verse to the side and sought it. Psalm 147:5. And the commentary below it in my Life Application Study Bible says this:
Sometimes we feel as if we don't understand ourselves - what we want, how we feel, what's wrong with us, or what we should do about it. But God's understanding has no limit, and therefore he understands us fully. If you feel troubled and don't understand yourself, remember that God understands you perfectly. Take your mind off yourself and focus it on God...The more you learn about God and his ways, the better you will understand yourself.

And returning to Isaiah, the commentary here says:
Even the strongest people get tired sometimes, but God's power and strength never diminish. He is never too tired or too busy to help and listen.

After driving my daughter to camp today and on my way to Holl's house, I saw a sign that read:

Be The Person Your Dog Thinks You Are.

My dog pretty much knows I'm a creep.

But God knows me, too. And He still loves me. And in Him is my Hope and my Strength.

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